Hän language Article

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Häł gołan
Native to Canada, United States
Region Yukon, Alaska
Ethnicity Hän people
Native speakers
20 (1997–2007) [1]
Latin (Dené alphabet)
Official status
Official language in
  Alaska [2]
Language codes
ISO 639-3 haa
Glottolog hann1241 [3]
This article contains IPA phonetic symbols. Without proper rendering support, you may see question marks, boxes, or other symbols instead of Unicode characters. For a guide to IPA symbols, see Help:IPA.

The Hän language (Dawson, Han-Kutchin, Moosehide) is an Athabaskan language spoken primarily in Eagle, Alaska (United States) and Dawson City, Yukon (Canada), though there are also speakers in Fairbanks, Alaska. [4] [5] There are only a few fluent speakers remaining (perhaps about 10), all elderly. [6]

Hän is a member of the Athabaskan-Eyak-Tlingit language family and is most closely related to Gwich'in and Upper Tanana. [5] The name of the language is derived from the name of the people, " Hän Hwëch'in", which in the language means "people who live along the river", the river being the Yukon. [5]



The consonants of Hän in the standard orthography are listed below (with IPA notation in brackets): [5]

Labial Inter-
Alveolar Post-
Retroflex Velar Glottal
central lateral
Nasal [ ] nh
[ m] m [ n] n
Stop [pʰ] (p) [tʰ] t [kʰ] k
[ p] b [ t] d [ k] g [ ʔ] ʼ
[ ] t’ [ ] k’
[ᵐb] mb [ⁿd] nd
Affricate [tθʰ] tth [tsʰ] ts [tɬʰ] tl [tʃʰ] ch [ʈʂʰ] tr
[ ] ddh [ ts] dz [ ] dl [ ] j [ ʈʂ] dr
[tθʼ] tth’ [ tsʼ] ts’ [ tɬʼ] tl’ [ tʃʼ] ch’ [ ʈʂʼ] tr’
[ⁿdʒ] nj
Fricative [ θ] th [ s] s [ ɬ] ł [ ʃ] sh [ ʂ] sr [ x] kh [ h] h
[ ð] dh [ z] z [ ɮ] l [ ʒ] zh [ ʐ] zr [ ɣ] gh
Approximant [ ] yh [ɻ̥] rh [ ] wh
[ l] l [ j] y [ ɻ] r [ w] w


  • short
    • a [a]
    • ä [ɑ]
    • e [e]
    • ë [ə]
    • i [i]
    • o [o]
    • u [u]
  • long
    • aa [aː]
    • ää [ɑː]
    • ee [eː]
    • ëë [əː]
    • ii [iː]
    • oo [oː]
    • uu [uː]
  • diphthongs
    • aw [au]
    • ay [ai]
    • äw [ɑu]
    • ew [eu]
    • ey [ei]
    • iw [iu]
    • oy [oi]
  • nasal vowels are marked by an ogonek accent, e.g., [ą]
  • low tone is marked with a grave accent, e.g., [à]
  • rising tone is marked with a circumflex accent, e.g., [â][ citation needed]
  • falling tone is marked with a caron (or háček), e.g., [ǎ][ citation needed]
  • high tone is never marked, e.g., [a]


The Tr'ondëk Hwëch'in (formerly known as the Dawson First Nation) in Yukon support the revitalization of Hän, and there are current efforts to revive the language locally. Since 1991, the Robert Service School in Dawson City has hosted the Hän Language program, and the Tr'ondëk Hwëch'in supports adult language classes and bi-annual cultural gatherings. [5]

Further reading

  • Manker, Jonathan, and Tsuu T’ina Nation (2013). The Syntax of Sluicing in Hän. Dene Languages Conference, Calgary Alberta.
  • Manker, Jonathan (2014). Tone Specification and the Tone-Bearing Unit (TBU) in Hän Athabascan. WSLCA 19 St. John's, Newfoundland.


  1. ^ Hän at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015)
  2. ^ https://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2014/04/21/305688602/alaska-oks-bill-making-native-languages-official
  3. ^ Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2017). "Han". Glottolog 3.0. Jena, Germany: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History.
  4. ^ "Hän language, alphabet and pronunciation". www.omniglot.com. Retrieved 2017-08-22.
  5. ^ a b c d e "Yukon Native Language Centre". ynlc.ca. Retrieved 2018-01-13.
  6. ^ Joseph, Kim. "Hän Welcome Page". www.firstvoices.com. Retrieved 2017-08-22.

External links